Tag Archives: scones

Alice’s Tea Cup Take 2 & 3

21 Mar

curious french toast at alice tea cup
Curious french toast baked with pear surrounded by fresh berries and creme anglaise.

My good friend, Amanda, was visiting her boyfriend, Wayne (and me!) so we went to Alice’s Tea Cup Chapter II on the east side. Then my sister and I had to use up a Groupon so we tried out Chapter I on the west side.

tea at alice tea cup
Meow says the tea drip catcher.

I have to say, Chapter I sucked. Service was extremely slow from the kitchen, the waitress could not do her job (didn’t acknowledge us until 10 minutes after we sat down, messed up our orders, didn’t know who ordered what when serving), and the food wasn’t good! The poached eggs tasted like vinegar and the pumpkin scone that I get every time was bland, bland, bland. It took us 30 minutes to get our food. Then I had to wait for the side order the waitress messed up even though I finished my dish already. The only really tasty part of the meal was the berry scone and the yogurt with berries, which they did not have to cook.

scones at alice tea cup
The good scones from Chapter II. Pumpkin and garlic, herb and cheese. This pumpkin had a lot more flavor than the one from chapter I.

Yes, normally people go there to sit and chat for hours on end and I’m usually easy to please when it comes to restaurants but this was just too much for me. So, sorry for the rant.

chicken ruben at alice tea cup
Chicken ruben at chapter II.

Chapter II had tasty food for the most part. Wayne randomly chose the eggs “Benedict”, which teaches you not to randomly pick stuff. The concept of this dish is just wrong but if you read the descriptions you’ll probably pick something you would like. Amanda got the Curious French Toast and I got the Chicken Ruben sandwich. Both were decent. The service was also faster and the waitstaff attentive. I also like the decor of Chapter II better plus they have more seating upstairs with lovely windows.

"eggs benedict" at alice tea cup
Eggs “benedict” on buttermilk scone and side of potatoes and chicken. Starchy and dry with a tart hollandaise sauce.

alice tea cup bigger breakfast
Alice’s Bigger Breakfast from Chapter I – 3 tiers with scone, eggs any style, veggies (asparagus, spinach and bell pepper) or bacon, and vanilla yogurt with berries (straw, blue, black, and rasp -berry).

alice tea cup table
Take home message: go to Chapter II if you do have to splurge on brunch. Time for me to find a new, less touristy, tea place.

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Rustic Country Bread and Scones

5 Mar

I got a pizza stone!! Now I can make delicious crusty pizzas and crusty breads.

country bread whole

Some tips, don’t put the stone on the bottom of the oven if your bread/pizza is larger than the stone. It will hang over the flame (gas stove) and burn. Also, make sure your corn meal is COARSE ground. My bag said coarse ground but it really wasn’t.. it was more like corn flour. Flour burns!! I sprinkled it onto the hot stone and it instantly started smoking. Very, very gross.

When making bread it’s importatnt to use a pre-ferment, aka sponge. Doing so gives the bread much more flavor and is worth starting the mix an extra few hours. I let mine ferment for 12 hours instead of four because I went to bed and forgot about it. Came out really good. Gotta practice some more but this was definitely a learning experience. Turned out pretty well I think even if it’s not perfect.

country bread cut

I also made scones! Cranberry orange scones to be precise. These were yummy but really on the high fat side and not as crumbly as I would have liked. Here’s the recipe if you want to try it, it has no eggs. I think I prefer ones with eggs.

scones

Cranberry Orange Scones

2 c. all purpose flour
1 tbs. baking powder
3/4 tbs. salt
6 tbs. cold butter cut in pieces
1 tbs. white sugar plus some for sprinkling on top
2 tbs. honey
1/3 c. heavy cream, plus more for brushing tops
1/2 c. sour cream
1/2 c. dried cranberries
1 tsp. orange zest

1. Preheat oven to 400 F.
2. In a large bowl, mix flour, baking powder, salt and sugar. Cut in butter using a pastry cutter, two knives or your finger tips until the texture resembles bread crumbs. It’s important to keep the butter cold so you can put it in the fridge if it melts to much.
3. In a small bowl, mix honey, cream and sour cream until well combined. Add to flour mixture and stir until just combined. Do not over mix or you will get tough scones.
4. Pat all of the dough into a 6×6 inch square, cut into 4 equal squares and then into 8 triangles.
5. Brush tops with cream and sprinkle with sugar.
6. Bake 20 minutes or until golden brown.
7. Optional glaze: mix 1/2 cup confectioners sugar (powdered sugar) with 1-2 tsp of orange juice and drizzle over tops of cooled scones.

scones cut

Alice’s Tea Cup

25 Oct

My friend Ying Ying and I went to Alice’s Tea Cup today. I really like tea houses because they always have yummy food and yummy tea. We went to the East 64th St. location. While it was quite small with not much to look at, the food was great. The service was decent and there were a lot of waitstaff though our waitress kept forgetting what peopled ordered because she didn’t write things down – I saw this happen twice. Since there was a party upstairs and only a couple of tables downstairs, go early or be prepared to wait. I put my name down at 11am and got seated pretty quickly, they’ll even call your cell phone when a table becomes available.

Pumpkin scone, banana chocolate chip scone, and cream with raspberry preserves.
alicetea scones

Tea with a kitty drip catcher. Isn’t it so cute?! That little thing by itself is $10!!
alicetea teapot

We shared a scones with tea ($10) and had the pumpkin scone and banana chocolate chip. I ordered the Symphony tea which was a strawberry and chocolate flavored Indian black tea. Wasn’t too impressive. The pumpkin scone was to die for! More cakey than scone like but full of pumpkin flavor and lightly spiced. I didn’t care for the banana chocolate chip flavor but the texture was great. Ying Ying ordered a peach and flower Bellini ($12) but it didn’t taste so good to either of us.

Half finished french toast.
alicetea french toast

For our main dishes, I ordered the Alice’s Special French Toast ($9) and Ying Ying had a Ham and Gruyere Crepe ($12) with mixed greens salad (no pic because she wanted to eat haha). Both our dishes were delicious and cooked perfectly! My french toast was SO good but I was actually full from the scones so I took half of it home. Crispy, soft, warm, sweet, flavorful, and covered in fresh berries. The savory crepe was a nice change from all the sweets and tasted wonderful.

Isn’t Ying Ying so cute? =D
alicetea yinying

Next time I go, I’m going to have to try their cupcakes and maybe a burger and of course, more tea! Who wants to go with me? đŸ˜‰

Oh and then we went and bought a car!! Ying Ying’s newest car is a Honda Civic in sexy black. Very nice.

Reviews: Otafuku and Podunk!

28 Sep

I finally got to go out today and spent the day exploring two new restaurants and shopping at Union Square with two of my friends, Ying Ying and Mou. It was a lot of fun and I liked both restaurants so I recommend them to you! I definitely want to visit these again. Too bad the weather was humid and rainy. We even walked through a street fair along Broadway but I didn’t bother taking my camera out in the rain.

We first went to Otafuku for a snack (breakfast for me.. it was 1pm). Otafuku specializes in Japanese street food and offers a very limited menu of yakisoba (seafood fried noodles), takoyaki (octopus balls – also in plain or cheese), okonomiyaki (pork, beef, shrimp, squid, corn w/ scallion), edamame, some drinks and some desserts. The food ranges from $3 to $8 excluding drinks and dessert.

Here’s Ying Ying enjoying her $1 iced barley tea on the one and only bench outside the restaurants. There isn’t any seating inside. Mou is inside ordering.
otafuku front

There is very little space inside and they don’t like you staying in the restaurant to wait. They make you wait outside once you’ve placed your order and paid. Here’s the dude filling the giant takoyaki pan with batter. You can see the okonomiyaki (savory pancakes with cabbage and meat) being fried in the front.
otafuku takoyaki making

Close up of the dude putting the second layer of batter on top of the octopus filling. They later flip the balls over with a stick but I missed it. Crappy pic because it’s dark inside.
otafuku takoyaki making2

Here’s a half eaten picture of Combo B – 6 octopus takoyaki and 1 order of shrimip okonomiyaki. It takes 10 minutes for them to cook the pancake. Mou got his takoyaki much faster than us because those were made from the last batch. Everything was smothered in a tangy dark sauce, mayo and bonito (fish flakes). Yum. Combo B was $8. It was a filling snack.
otafuku food eaten

After that we walked around the fair and shopped at 14th Street. By then it was around 4pm and we were dead tired so we walked all the way back to 5th St to have some tea.

We went to Podunk, a quaint little tea house run by a quaint little old lady. I loved the place, the small room was full of old fashioned memorabilia and had a mismatched assortment of picnic-y tables and chairs. Most seated only 2 people while there was a party of like 6 by the door when we entered. The place filled up quickly after that.
podunk sign

Counter where you place your order. There’s no wait service here, you order, pick up your things, bring it back and pay after you’re all done.
podunk counter

View of the rest of the room from our table by the counter.
podunk room

I had the Nibbler Tea which was $16 for one person (different price if shared). It included cheddar crackers, apricots stuffed with Gorgonzola cheese, spiced cookies, mini scones, mini apples, clotted cream, apricot jam, and what I believe to be fig jam with herbs (not sure). The pot of tea was included and I went with the recommendation of apricot tea. Oh my goodness this was fun to eat. The jams and cream were absolutely delicious. And the tea was divine.. with sugar and cream as well as without.
podunk nibbler tea

Ying Ying had the Cream Tea which was maybe $12 or $14? I forget. Hers included scones, mixed berries, straberry and apricot jams, clotted cream and grapes. She also went with the recommend tea of ceylon (being poured in the background).
podunk cream tea

Picture of the tea with sugar, cream and lemons. Not pictured was Mou’s peppermint tea in a blue pot.
podunk tea

The teas are around $5 to $8 for a personal order if I remember correctly. They have a large tea menu with iced teas as well. Also several “teas” that include food and tea going up to $25. Everything isn’t cheap but since everything is hand made and presented so beautifully, it’s worth the experience. The owner is polite and doesn’t rush you at all to leave at all (though she did seem to get annoyed when she called an order out and the girl on the cellphone didn’t go pick it up). My order didn’t come with the chocolate truffle as mentioned in the menu so we asked about it and she said they ran out. So she let us choose any replacement! We got a pretty pink frosted cupcake. We also asked for more water in the teapots and she had no problems refilling them. The tables are first come first serve though so get there early if you don’t want to wait.. I think people usually stay for a long while once they’re there. I’m still craving some apricot tea.. and now I must buy my own cute little teapot. ^_^